Justice has finally prevailed for Take-Two with a lawsuit that should never have left a lawyer’s backlog of cases. Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan had her case against Take-Two thrown out by the New York Court of Appeals after she claimed Grand Theft Auto V copied her image for the game’s character of Lacey Jonas.

In Lohan’s case, she claimed the game infringed upon her rights to privacy, created a copy image of her likeness, and even stole her signature peace pose for one of the game’s promotional art pieces. It’s the same peace pose that’s been popular since a least the 60s and 70s, long before Lohan was born.

However, the New York Court of Appeals countered with the proper ruling, stating that the game was fiction and that Lohan’s lifestyle was free-game when it came to satirizing. The judge’s sticking point came as it realized Lohan’s actual name is not used in the game.

Even if we accept plaintiffs’ contentions that the video game depictions are close enough to be considered representations of the respective plaintiffs, plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed because this video game does not fall under the statutory definitions of “advertising” or “trade” (see Costanza at 255, citing Hampton v Guare , 195 AD2d 366, 366 [1st Dept 1993], lv denied 82 NY2d 659 [1993] [stating that “works of fiction and satire do not fall within the narrow scope of the statutory phrases advertising’ and trade'”]; see generally Brown v Entertainment Merchants Assn., 564 US 786, 790 [2011] [“(l)ike the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas…” and deserve First Amendment protection]).

This video game’s unique story, characters, dialogue, and environment, combined with the player’s ability to choose how to proceed in the game, render it a work of fiction and satire.

Still, that peace or victory sign, though. I see it everyday when people take selfies in the streets of Japan. Why would you ever think you have claim to that?

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